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  • Russian Art Is Hot Stuff

    Art sales aren't usually raucous affairs. But last week's Russian-art auction at Sotheby's in London was an exception. In a heated battle for one painting, a private Russian buyer playfully threatened to strike his contender before winning with a $2.5 million bid—more than double its estimated value. Moments earlier, a huge turquoise pet parrot broke free from its owner's bejeweled shoulder, flying madly around the room. "It wouldn't be a Russian show without something like that happening," said the auctioneer.Sotheby's should know. Thanks to the nouveau Russian rich, Russian art has become the single hottest commodity at auction houses. Sotheby's has already moved more than $100 million of Russian art since January, putting it on pace to trounce last year's record total of $150 million. Last week Christie's in London held its first-ever summer Russian sale, fetching an impressive $36 million, and setting a new world record for the highest price ever paid for a painting in a Russian...
  • Why Peace Fails the Middle East

    No one can seriously believe that a "two-state solution" to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is possible. Especially not now, with Gaza burning. Yet heads of state including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and George W. Bush, who meet this week at the White House, still give lip service to that goal. Like everyone, they are entrapped by five fallacies that now shape discourse on the Middle East.1. The Top-Down Fallacy. Many observers believe that the way to resolve the conflict is a final peace agreement, or "final status" in diplomatic parlance. Such a deal would form a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, while giving security assurances to Israel. Since the disputed areas are small, measured in a few square kilometers, frustrated statesmen (like Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice) argue that the endgame is known and the only problem is getting there. President Bill Clinton's Parameters of December 2000, which presented a final status blueprint, are often depicted as the...
  • Gaza's Middle Class Flees

    Sana Dahman only dared peek out her window at night. The men with guns in the street looked like shadows. In the glow of the flames from the burning city, she could see grenade tubes on shoulders and ski masks on faces. Her neighborhood, like the rest of Gaza City, smelled like smoke. She was trapped in her house and food was running low. A friend tossed a loaf of bread through her window and then dashed away. Before the power failed for the night, she typed Hotmail instant messages to her husband: THEY'RE ASSASSINATING PEOPLE. THEY'RE BURNING HOUSES. WE CAN'T SLEEP.Her husband, Mohammad Dahman, moved to Norway six months ago. He says he's never coming back to Gaza. Both Dahmans had been raised in Gaza's refugee camps, alongside roughly 1 million other Palestinians. After college, where Mohammad studied business management, he took a job as a trade-union leader and human-rights activist. His $700-per-month salary let the couple and their five children eventually move to a red-roofed...
  • A Flood Of Flowers

    In the early 17th century, new trade routes to Africa and the Far East brought regular shipments of exotica to Dutch ports, and wealthy collectors amassed shells, gemstones, paintings, coins, marbled paper, even dogs. Almost anything deemed beautiful, rare or new was collectible. The tulip was all three. According to lore, its arrival created a country-wide speculative financial bubble that in 1637 popped, ruining lives and crippling the Dutch economy.In the meticulously researched "Tulipmania" (University of Chicago Press; 400 pages), Anne Goldgar tells another story entirely. In her account, the tulip traders were wealthy merchants with money to burn—hardly a representative cross-section of Dutch society. Far from wiping out the Dutch economy, she writes, the 1637 crash only dented the bank accounts of those rich enough to speculate in the first place. Meanwhile, in the two years prior, bubonic plague had killed approximately 135,000 Amsterdam residents and the region was mired in...
  • Behind the Secret Door

    Velvet ropes, burly doormen and screaming paparazzi are so passé. In New York City, the hottest bars and restaurants keep a low profile—so low, in fact, you may have a hard time finding them without a GPS. Discretion is the watchword when it comes to getting through the (unmarked) doors of these secret Manhattan nightspots, but once inside, you'll be rewarded with swank furnishings, lovingly crafted cocktails and the discreet thrill of having made it to the inner sanctum. ...
  • Sharma: How Can Russia Be Both Statist and Free-Market?

    For all the opinion offered on Russia these days, the key operating rule to keep in mind before reaching any conclusion is that the exact opposite of what's being said is also true.Many in the international media have conjured up an image of Russia as a hyper petro-power run by an authoritarian regime with a cold-war vision for the country. While there's more than an element of truth in such a portrayal, it would also be fair to say that Russia has been working hard to reduce its dependence on oil, the Kremlin has rarely mattered less for the people on the street and capitalist fervor continues to sweep the economy.Russia is increasingly turning out to be a tale of two different countries. At one level, the state is becoming more assertive and is seeking to broaden its influence in the "strategic" sectors of the economy as it looks to use oil as a weapon. This is undoubtedly undermining the investing environment and preventing the country from realizing its full potential in the...
  • Why Gaza Matters to U.S., the World

    The Israelis didn't want Palestinian elections back in January 2006. Even Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, had been worried about them and kept asking for delays. As early as the spring of 2005, Abbas had warned American officials that he did not have the popular support to disarm Hamas, the Islamist party that turned suicide terror bombings into a standard tactic in Israel and which both Abbas and the Israelis saw was growing in power. But Bush administration officials insisted, confident of the curative powers of democracy. Later, after Hamas stunned the world by winning control of the Palestinian Parliament, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed: "Nobody saw it coming."The line could describe much of what has resulted from George W. Bush's efforts to transform the world—or at least one part of it, the Middle East. As long as the Islamists of Hamas refused to recognize Israel, the United States refused to deal with the Hamas-dominated Palestinian government. The...
  • Oil Money for a Dream

    Ten years ago, José Ramos-Horta was a painful pebble in Indonesia's shoe. The charismatic East Timorese intellectual earned a Nobel Peace Prize by trolling the halls of power in dozens of capitals around the world, telling anyone who'd listen that the former Portuguese colony was under a savage occupation. Now he's the establishment: last month, he was sworn in as the second president of independent East Timor (also known as Timor Leste). On June 4 he made his first state visit—to former foe Indonesia, which is now his friend and neighbor. NEWSWEEK's Joe Cochrane spoke to Ramos-Horta in his hotel suite overlooking Jakarta. Excerpts: ...
  • Is Turkey Winning Over the Kurds?

    Turkey's military appeared to be poised for war. Responding to a surge in Kurdish separatist attacks launched from northern Iraq, Turkish troops massed on the border—while commandos reportedly staged hot-pursuit raids inside Iraq itself. At the same time, though, inside Turkey the Army was trying a very different tactic—an unprecedented bid for hearts and minds that may end up doing more to end Kurdish violence than brute military force.What a difference a year makes. Last May, the cities of Turkey's southeast were convulsed by bloody riots as ethnic Kurds vented their anger at discrimination, poverty and police brutality. Last week the streets of Sirnak and Diyarbakir were again full of demonstrators, many of them Kurds. But this time they were protesting not against the government, but against the very group that claims to fight for their rights—the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Turkish authorities sanctioned the rallies, where speakers denounced the PKK's latest terrorist...
  • The Spaces in Between

    American sculptor Richard Serra takes over MoMA with a retrospective of his heavy-metal works.
  • Global Warming: Hot Air Is Not Enough

    President George W. Bush averted a nasty rift when he agreed in the final hours of the recent G8 summit to "consider seriously" the need to halve the world's emissions of global-warming gases by 2050. Canada, the European Union and Japan had already embraced that goal, leaving America the dirty stand-out. The deeper truth is that these eight industrial countries controlOnly part of the world's emissions, and the industrial activities that cause emissions are slow to change. Coal will be the hardest to tame because it is so cheap and abundant. Many coal-power plants coming online today will still be in service by 2050, and advanced plants that store effluent safely underground won't be used widely for many more decades. The geopolitical hurdles are also high. The plan introduced with much fanfare earlier this month by China, which next year will become the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases, contains nothing beyond what Beijing already had in place. The world, therefore, is in...
  • Governing Gaza: Hamas's Dilemma

    Now that Hamas has taken complete control of Gaza by force, what will result? Mogadishu on the Mediterranean? Or will the sole responsibility for governing 1.5 million Palestinians force Hamas to moderate its militancy?The most prominent exponent of the theory behind the latter hope—i.e., the notion that governing forces radicals to become more reasonable—is, ironically, none other than George W. Bush. It was that conviction that led Bush to insist in December 2005 that the Palestinians go ahead with elections, though Palestinians and Israelis warned him Hamas could win. Bush argued that it would be good for Hamas to govern and be held accountable to the people.But things haven't worked the way Bush expected. Elections in the Palestinian territories did not produce transparent and accountable government. Hamas never followed the democratic rules of the game; instead, when power sharing became tiresome, its militia launched a putsch.As a result, the West Bank is now controlled by...
  • Last Word: Hoshyar Zebari

    Baghdad was already feeling the heat of an increase in suicide blasts and roadside bombs, mortar attacks on the Green Zone, and U.S. pressure to meet its "benchmarks" of progress by September. Amid all this, rumors abound in Baghdad of coup plots, which Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has fueled by accusing political rivals—aides say he means former P.M. Ayad Allawi—of "conspiring" against the government with the help of "foreign intelligence." (Allawi has denied any connection to a coup plot.) Few in Maliki's government see more of the internal challenges that the prime minister faces than Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd who has managed to retain his post since being appointed to the interim government in June 2004. NEWSWEEK's Melinda Liu and Larry Kaplow spoke to Zebari. Excerpts: ...
  • The Palm Economy

    Ibiza is better known for dance music than diplomacy. But last February, the breezy and bohemian Mediterranean island was the site of an important meeting between Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. Nobody knows exactly what they discussed that day under the palms. But since then, economic ties between the two countries have been getting plenty of ink. This past spring, the Italian power company Enel helped its counterpart in Spain, Endesa, defeat an unsolicited German buyout bid. Spain's largest telecom, Telefónica, has bought a 10 percent stake in Italy's Telecom Italia. A few weeks ago, Italy's biggest bank, UniCredit, bought into Spain's number-four player. A number of other such deals are being discussed among not only banks but big-infrastructure companies. It could, wrote the Italian brokerage firm Euromobiliare in a note dated Feb. 28, "be the beginning of a series of such negotiations between Spain and Italy."Europe...
  • Global Investor: Don't Count America Out

    A more balanced global growth picture means that the enormous U.S. trade deficit has reached a plateau and is set to recede, perhaps substantially. Ditto the U.S. current-account deficit. That will mean less dependence on the American consumer as an engine for global growth, and less U.S. borrowing from abroad. But it will also mean more reliance on a new kind of growth engine: the American producer and exporter.By now, the catalysts behind the shift are fairly well known. Rapid import growth, fueled by U.S. consumer and business spending, has been dampened by recent Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes. Japan, Germany and other European economies, enjoying a healthy new economic momentum, are now growing faster than the United States. Recent structural improvements in these countries have lifted their potential growth rates. Along with the weaker U.S. dollar, these trends will continue to dampen demand for foreign imports to the United States and increase the appetite for U.S....
  • The Dynamic Duo

    Want to know Europe's dirty little secret? You won't hear it from the locals grousing as the EU goes into talks on a new constitution. But the truth is that the Union is working. More jobs have been created in the euro zone—13.1 million of them since 2000—than in the United States during the same period. Add in those economies that still use their own currencies, such as Britain's and the Nordic states', and the picture looks even better. Gone are the high unemployment rates that, just recently, seemed a permanent fixture of the landscape.In the east, the EU's newer members are purring like tigers. Poland's current growth rate is as good as India's, and the Czech economy is growing faster than Taiwan's or Malaysia's. Even China, supposedly the world's export king, is being outpaced by Germany, which sells more of its goods and services abroad. Little Belgium now exports more than mighty South Korea. And the euro zone is running a trade surplus—unlike the United States, with its...
  • Henry Tang: Better Times Are Here

    With mainland China moving to embrace capitalism, "one country, two systems" should mean that Hong Kong and the mainland are different politically. And the way to ensure Hong Kong's distinctness is to allow the people of the city to choose their own leaders. Looking over the past decade, there have been obvious instances of interference in Hong Kong's domestic affairs, often with the city's leaders looking the other way to avoid provoking Beijing.Due to a lack of transparency, it is often difficult to tell whether decisions are made in Hong Kong or Beijing. For example, there was the case of the newspaper proprietor Sally Aw, whom the Independent Commission Against Corruption charged as a co-conspirator in a fraud case. The Justice Department decided to drop charges against her. Aw was a member of China's top advisory body at the time.Outright interference can also be documented. In 2000, the pro-independence candidate Chen Shui-bian won the Taiwan presidential election. The...
  • Q&A: Architect Brian Mackay-Lyons Goes Back to Basics

    While the contemporary architects who draw the most attention these days tend to design extravagant, explosive, fluid forms—which are translated into real structures by employing computer technology—other architects have been focusing on the essential elements of modern architecture. These “renewed modernists,” as they have been called, are making modest buildings that are filled with light, use appropriate materials and are about the experience of space and the landscape where they are sited. One of the best of these architects is Brian MacKay-Lyons, 52, of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His work has been championed by the Pritzker-prize-winning Australian architect Glenn Murcutt for its rugged simplicity, its connection to place, its natural ecological sympathy and most of all, for its authenticity. MacKay-Lyons spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Cathleen McGuigan. ...
  • For Whatever It's Worth

    Often when I wander down the world's great shopping streets, I silently curse the concept of shareholder value. It always seems to me to come with an expectation for constant growth, and for this, luxury companies need to find ever more ingenious ways of getting us to spend more.There are some brands that achieve this almost effortlessly. For instance, the other day I strolled into my local branch of Hermès and examined some of the cute crocodile-skin ring-binder diaries: small things a few inches square with a nice silver pen slotted into the side. I was delighted to see that the more expensive ones were heading north of £1,500.The fact that I was only mildly surprised by this price tag testifies to the power of the Hermès image and its reputation for quality and style. Being charged a considerable sum for a small and beautiful object has a value to the customer; it offers reassurance that this is indeed a serious purchase. And to be taken seriously you have to take yourself...
  • Made by Foreign Hands

    The town of Prato, just outside Florence, is not exactly typical of this part of Italy. Sure, it's got the requisite medieval wall, a handful of baroque churches and charming cobblestone streets. But instead of sautéed garlic, the lingering aroma is of fried wontons. In the cafés, red paper lanterns are as prevalent as red-and-white-checkered tablecloths, and more people speak Mandarin than Italian.In fact, this Tuscan community of about 200,000 is home to Europe's second largest Chinatown, after Paris. It's also the heart of Italy's apparel industry, home of the MADE IN ITALY label, which for many conjures up visions of old Italian craftsmen hunched over workbenches, sewing the last stitches on a pair of leather shoes or designer handbag. Gucci and Prada have their factory outlets here; Prato even houses Italy's official textile museum, which traces the history of the country's luxury-garment industry.But the image of the skilled Italian worker lovingly plying his trade is fading...
  • Onscene: Chaos and Desperation in Gaza

    There wasn't much left of Mohammed Dahlan's house by the time I stopped by Wednesday morning. The whitewashed villa in Gaza City's lush Remal neighborhood had been torched, robbed and stripped by looters of any loose fixture or ornament of value, including the sewage pipes in the backyard. Children had sketched unflattering charcoal drawings of Dahlan, the reviled founder of the Fatah-controlled Preventive Security apparatus, on the walls upstairs; captions like HE IS A SPY and HAMAS WAS HERE were scrawled underneath. Adolescent boys swung sledgehammers at the floor, chipping away rectangular slabs of marble and stacking them in a donkey cart. "I'm taking this stuff," a teenager with a pickaxe told me, explaining that he was going to "pave" his living room with marble. While we talked, another small boy jumped up and snatched my sunglasses, while a third grabbed the tiny flashlight clipped to my backpack. "Let's go," said my translator, Hassan. "And check your pockets."Visiting the...
  • Q&A: How Police Cracked Online Porn Ring

    British police spent months infiltrating one of the world’s largest online child porn rings. They arrested its ringleader, Timothy Cox, at his Suffolk home last September, then assumed his online identity to gather evidence on the Web site’s members. Their global investigation—dubbed Operation Chandler—led them on a trail stretching from Australia to North America and Europe, netting over 700 suspects around the world and rescuing 31 abused children. Yesterday, they finally made the case public after Cox was convicted of distributing indecent images and sentenced to jail for an indeterminate period—meaning he will be incarcerated until he is no longer considered a threat to children.Cox was the ringleader of a chat room called “Kids the Light of Our Lives,” which allowed users to trade and watch live images of children being abused through file sharing and video streaming. “No investigation has rescued so many young and vulnerable people from a group of hard-core pedophiles,” says...
  • Digging a Grave for Crumbling Zimbabwe

    Last Maingehama was on his way to a memorial service when he was kidnapped. A little after 2 p.m. on March 20, in the middle of an upscale Harare neighborhood, government thugs dragged Last out of his car, tied a blindfold around his eyes and drove him into the Zimbabwean savanna. For the next five hours they beat the 33-year-old businessman and opposition activist relentlessly with hard wooden "battlesticks." They pounded the soles of his feet, he says, in an account verified by two independent human-rights researchers. They broke his left leg just below the kneecap. And then, when he was bruised and bloody and unconscious, the men left Last for dead and disappeared into the night. When Last finally crawled back to the road, half naked and petrified, he flagged down a passing tractor. But it is a sign of how pervasive the climate of fear has grown in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe that even to his rescuer, Last lied about what had happened in the bush that night. "I told [him] I was...
  • Good News About the Falling Dollar

    Not so long ago, a single dollar was considered a pretty good tip for bellhops around the world. But lately, Megan Carrella, a 34-year-old New York executive who travels regularly from Mexico to Greece for business, has found hotel help less enthusiastic about her usual palm. She's taken to handing out at least two or three greenbacks to guarantee good service. "People used to really smile when you gave them a dollar," she says. "Now it seems almost like an insult."Bellhops aren't the only ones whose love affair with the dollar is over. Since the dollar's peak in February 2002, it has now fallen 20 percentage points against a basket of global currencies including the rupee, Canadian dollar and real, with 3 percent of that fall coming in the past three months. Countries all over the world are dropping their local currency pegs to the dollar, and eurobonds are beginning to compete with the almighty T-bill as a reserve currency in places like Russia and Sweden. There's even a movement...
  • Level Up

    Having recently become a father, I've been struggling with the conventional wisdom on parenthood—that I'll never have time to do anything I like ever again. One recent evening, however, when my daughter was asleep, I fired up the Halo 3 multiplayer beta—the early-release version of the follow-up to the Halo 2 videogame for Microsoft's Xbox 360. No surprise: Halo 3 is great. It's an elegant blend of very familiar gameplay, welcome refinements to mechanics and clever new elements that I barely had time to tinker with. The physics and animations are substantially better than in Halo 2 multiplayer; taking down an opponent feels more satisfying. (In Halo 3, downed enemies drop to the ground more quickly.) My only tiny concern: Gears of War really impressed me with how genuinely shocking moments are possible in familiar genres. I want to have similar moments of panic in Halo 3. It would make the ability to detach a turret cannon and carry it Jesse Ventura style even more of a delight....
  • World View: A Darkening In the North

    Iraq's kurdish north has offered a heartening contrast to an otherwise blood-soaked country. Its polity works; its economy thrives. But the reports last week of a Turkish military incursion, in pursuit of Kurdish rebels, is an eruption of only one of three steadily deepening problems that could combine to worsen the Bush administration's predicament in Iraq.The first is the dispute over Kirkuk, capital of At-Tamim province. The city and its environs contain some 10 billion of Iraq's 112 billion barrels in proven oil reserves. Saddam Hussein expelled thousands of Kurds as well as Turkomans and Christians from the Kirkuk region in the 1980s and 1990s, replacing them with Arabs, mainly Shia from the south, themselves victims of his repression. With Saddam gone, roughly 350,000 Kurds moved back (some original residents, others not) with active support from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Thousands of Arabs fled, alleging threats and attacks by Kurdish groups. The influx also...
  • Slam Dancing for Allah

    It's near midnight in a small Fairfax, Va., bar, and Omar Waqar stands on a makeshift stage, brooding in a black tunic and brown cap. He stops playing his electric guitar long enough to survey the crowd—an odd mix of local punks and collared preps—before screaming into the microphone: "Stop the hate! Stop the hate!" Stopping hate is a fairly easy concept to get behind at a punk-rock show, and the crowd yells and pumps its fists right on cue. But it's safe to say that Waqar and his band, Diacritical, aren't shouting about the same kind of hate as the audience. Waqar wants to stop the kind that made people call him "sand flea" as a kid and throw rocks through the windows of the Islamic bookstore he worked at on 9/11. Waqar, 26, the son of a Pakistani immigrant, is a Muslim—a punk-rock Muslim.Muslim punk rock certainly sounds like an oxymoron, especially since fundamentalist Muslims condemn all music as haram (forbidden). But Diacritical is one of about a dozen Islamic punk-rock bands...
  • Q&A: Tina Brown on Princess Diana

    In "The Diana Chronicles," Tina Brown, former editor of the London magazine Tatler, as well as U.S. magazines Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, has managed to paint a fresh and human portrait of this iconic figure. Brown spoke with NEWSWEEK's Christopher Dickey in New York.
  • Iraq: New U.S. Ambassador May Be Best Hope

    Two months into his most recent Baghdad posting (his third in nearly 30 years), Ryan Crocker still hasn't opened all his airfreight crates. "I've been a little pressed," he dryly explains to NEWSWEEK. When he finally unpacks, though, the U.S. ambassador will take out a battered calendar from 24 years ago and hang it in his office. It was on his office wall in Beirut when a suicide truck bomb destroyed the U.S. Embassy there on April 18, 1983, killing 64 people. Slammed against a wall but not seriously hurt, the young diplomat immediately began clawing barehanded through the rubble, searching for his colleagues. The calendar has traveled with him ever since, bearing the scars of that day: "a little bit of glass, a little bit of blood, a little bit of spilled coffee." His voice gets quieter: "It reminds me of my responsibilities to the mission. And that in diplomacy, as in the military, you're playing for keeps."Crocker needs no reminders. That is why he and his military counterpart,...
  • Books: Pakistan’s Army Economy

    All countries have armies, but things are reversed in Pakistan," says Pervez Hoodbhoy, a professor at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. "Here is the Army that has a country." Indeed, Pakistan's ruling generals have carved out a world of wealth, power and privilege. They have built a huge corporate empire and own some of the country's most prized real estate. Under Gen. Pervez Musharraf's rule, the military's domination of the economy has only accelerated; since coming to power seven years ago, his government has placed some 1,200 active and retired officers in various ministries and state corporations. Discussion of this cronyism is taboo; after I published an article in NEWSWEEK in 2002 detailing the power and perks of the generals, Musharraf became enraged and accused me of being unpatriotic. Intelligence agencies launched an investigation, and I was banned from his press conferences for years.So Ayesha Siddiqa surely knew what she was in for when she published "Military Inc.:...
  • The Rise of Japan’s Lazy Youth

    On a recent Sunday, thousands of young people from across Japan rallied in central Tokyo, fighting for an unexpected cause in a city known for political apathy. Mostly in their 20s, the congregation carried banners demanding respect for themselves, the working poor in one of the world's richest nations. let us live a decent life! and let us work like human beings! the banners cried. Ayako Kobayashi, a 23-year-old protester, says, "Poverty is really spreading all around us."Yes, the Japanese economy is recovering and the number of full-time jobs is growing, but that only adds to the frustrations of the millions of Japanese who graduated from college during the decade long jobs slump that ended in 2003. While Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was in office, from 2001 to 2006, Japan lost 4 million full-time jobs and gained 4.3 million part-time and temp jobs. Now an estimated population of 5 million singles increasingly find themselves stuck without the skills or experience to command...
  • The Taj Mahal's Colorful History

    In 1631, mogul empress Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to her 14th child. Court histories tell us that during her 19-year marriage to the Emperor Shah Jahan, she had been the "light of his bedchamber"; within days of her death, the emperor's beard had turned noticeably grayer. The mausoleum that he built in memory of his beloved—the Taj Mahal, completed in 1648—has stood for centuries as a symbol of sorrow and beauty.Recent scholarship has questioned the role that love played in the construction of the monument. But for better and worse, Diana and Michael Preston's "Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire" (319 pages. Walker Books) makes an argument for the commingling of love and architecture. It's unfortunate that this comprehensive history of the Mogul Empire is coated with a romantic patina (if rotting bodies ever gave off the "sweet stink of death," it must have been a localized incident), but not everything has been sanitized. We're presented a...
  • Vinod Khosla: Betting Big On Green

    Since making a fortune as a founder of Sun Microsystems, Vinod Khosla has built on it as an investor with pre-eminent venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Now he's emerged as Silicon Valley's biggest enthusiast of green technologies—no mean feat in an industry where nearly everyone is going gaga over green. Khosla has already invested millions in almost 30 clean tech start-ups in areas ranging from geothermal energy to synthetic biology. But his most notable bets have been on ethanol. Most ethanol comes from corn, but if the technology becomes readily available, nearly any biological material—even grass—could create a viable alternative fuel called cellulosic ethanol. At least that's the way ethanol proponents would have it. As the ethanol movement continues to grow, so does criticism from the likes of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club; they argue that ethanol will simply allow automakers to avoid making more-efficient vehicles. NEWSWEEK's...
  • China’s Failure to Beat Illiteracy

    China has pledged time and again to wipe out illiteracy, which makes the story of Zhou Jihan quite awkward. Not because she has yet to master her Chinese characters, but because there are still many millions of Chinese struggling like her to learn to read and write as adults. That's a shame Beijing would prefer you did not read about.Zhou, now 36, grew up in a poor family in a remote village in western China. Because even the local primary school charged high fees, Zhou's parents made what the whole family considered an easy choice: Zhou's brothers went to school, and she and her sisters stayed home to work on the farm. "I never went to school once in my childhood," said Zhou. "We followed the tradition of paying more attention to the boys of the family than to the girls." She's proud to have memorized more than 1, 000 Chinese characters, but must learn 500 more to be considered literate. But Chinese authorities had promised more than painstaking progress.In 2000, the Chinese...
  • Arts: The Sacred History

    September 11 made Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" thesis a fashionable map for the 21st century. Right-wing pundits and religious zealots alike used it to argue that Islamic and Western societies have always been incompatible. Now "Sacred," on view at London's British Library (through Sept. 23), provides an elegant riposte to clash-mongers. The collection of manuscripts from Christianity, Islam and Judaism underscores that the traditions of the three religions bear striking similarities. Their emphasis on scriptural truth is the same, their cultures are intertwined and their followers lived—usually peacefully—in multicultural societies for centuries.With the Middle East riven by religious and political tensions, it's bittersweet to see such gorgeous proof of its multifaith history. A 13th-century Christian manuscript from near Mosul, Iraq, depicts the three Marys at Jesus' tomb. While many of the details are Byzantine, the tomb's onion dome and the stylized cedar trees...
  • Biggs: Russia's Stock Market Slide is All About Rhetoric

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the world's doghouse because he does not appreciate sanctimonious lectures or missile batteries on his border. He and President George W. Bush patched things up a bit at the G8 summit last week, but the tension remains. Ironically, we as investors should be grateful. As a result of this alleged increase in political risk, the Russian stock market and its oil stocks in particular have been falling even as both emerging markets and energy equities have climbed. After a week in Russia, I am convinced there is no business reason for this stumble; it's all about the media rhetoric.There is a presidential election in Russia next year, and Putin will stand down. However, he has made it clear he will continue to be the power behind the throne. He is passionately committed to restoring Russia to its former position of pre-eminence as a world power, economically and politically. Putin wants to be the modern reincarnation of Peter the Great. Indeed, I am...
  • Mail Call: Benefits of Exercise

    Our April 9 cover story on exercise pleased readers. "It's what I've been waiting for," praised one. Echoed another, "I wish I'd read it 30 years ago." A third said, "It was a real prescription to make us exercise!" ...
  • Talk Transcript: Sean Smith on Angelina Jolie

    "A Mighty Heart," starring Angelina Jolie, is based on the best-selling book by Mariane Pearl about the murder of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, by Al Qaeda members in Karachi, Pakistan, in early 2002. The movie details Mariane's struggle—with the help of Journal editors, Pakistan counterterrorism experts, FBI agents and others—to unravel the terrorist network and find Danny. Much in Mariane's life has changed since then, including the birth of their son, Adam, who is now 5 years old. The film opens June 22. Pearl spoke to NEWSWEEK's Sean Smith from her home in Paris about the film, her friendship with Jolie, the politics of terror, and the true meaning of revenge. Excerpts: ...
  • CFR: What are Iraq's Benchmarks?

    Probably no world leader has to deal with crises more frequently than Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. This weekend, his capital was under emergency curfew in the aftermath of the bombing Wednesday of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, a holy site for Shiite Muslims. An attack on the mosque last year caused a steep escalation in sectarian fighting.Maliki reacted faster than his predecessor did in the last attack, imposing a days-long curfew in the capital and visiting the site within hours. There have been fewer reprisal attacks than last time, as well, at least under the curfew. With his meeting pace slowing some, Maliki met with NEWSWEEK on Friday in his official residence, one of Saddam Hussein's old guest villas. It's mainly an office building, as Maliki actually lives nearby.The prime minister, a known workaholic, seemed relaxed despite the formal setting—a non-descript salon with Maliki's aides and official photographer on hand. He talked about the sensitivities of the American...
  • CFR: How To Deal With the Palestinians?

    For two decades, at least, events within the Palestinian political world pointed to a day of reckoning some time in the future pitting the secular against the religious in Palestinian life. That day apparently has dawned.Hamas, the militant Islamic movement which won the last Palestinian election in 2006 and had reluctantly shared power with the rival Fatah movement since, lost patience on Tuesday and conducted a violent purge of the remnants of Yasser Arafat's old guard, seizing de facto control of the Gaza Strip (Bloomberg). President Mahmoud Abbas, a Fatah senior statesmen, urged his forces to resist and denounced the move as an attempted coup, but reports suggest Fatah's power in Gaza has been smashed (MSNBC). But Abbas also fled the presidential compound in Gaza City, declared a state of emergency, and belatedly dissolved the Hamas-Fatah government (BBC) which has been the disfunctional reality since the last elections.Egypt continues to offer mediation between the feuding...
  • Lebanon: Syria's Opponents Remain Targets

    Murder can have unforeseen consequences. Syria's leaders ought to know that by now. A prime example is the car-bomb assassination of the billionaire Lebanese-independence champion Rafik Hariri. Almost faster than Damascus could deny responsibility for it, his killing launched the Cedar Revolution, a massive Lebanese nationalist uprising that accomplished what Hariri had only dreamed of doing while he lived. Within weeks his death had brought down the pro-Syria puppet government in Beirut. Damascus was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, after 29 years of military occupation.And yet the killings—and Syria's denials of involvement in any of them—continue. Since Hariri's death, seven anti-Syrian political figures have been killed in Lebanon, including three members of Parliament. The most recent was Walid Eido, 65. Late on the afternoon of June 13, a bomb ripped through his black Mercedes on a side street in Beirut, killing the legislator along with his 35-year-old son, two...
  • Gaza: Powerful Symbol Falls to Hamas

    It's difficult to think of a more divisive symbol in Gaza than the Preventive Security headquarters in the center of Gaza City. For Fatah loyalists, the massive, pastel-painted structure was a reminder of the power of the movement once led by Yasir Arafat. Originally created to crack down on Palestinian collaborators with Israel, Preventive Security eventually became known as one of the most efficient of Gaza's myriad security agencies. The elite unit's leaders inspired fierce loyalty among party faithful. Its top officials "are like our fathers," one young Fatah gunman told me last year, as he stood watch with his Kalashnikov outside the building's main gate.Yet for Hamas militants, few Fatah-controlled organizations are more reviled. On one trip to Gaza late last year, I listened as Yussef al-Zahar, a leader in Hamas's Izzedine al-Qassam militia, described being tortured by what he said were Preventive Security operatives in the late 1990s. The men hung Zahar by his ankles, the...
  • Past Newsweek Coverage

    He was the most eligible bachelor in the world, the future King of England. She was, quite literally, the girl next door, a 20-year-old who had grown up on an estate in the shadow of the royal family's Sandringham retreat. When Prince Charles and Lady Diana Frances Spencer married on July 29, 1981, three quarters of a billion people in 74 countries tuned in to a brilliantly choreographed spectacle, the Wedding of the Century.It was the opening scene of a grand, 16-year soap opera that had Diana playing a dizzying array of roles, from innocent bride to loving young mother to glamorous style setter. The gap between her public and private lives was vast. She was the most celebrated woman in the world and yet achingly lonely. Movie stars and factory workers lined up to meet her, but she felt so unloved that she repeatedly tried to harm herself. The higher her rating in the popularity polls, the more her husband seemed to keep his distance. She suffered from bulimia and depression, but...
  • Gaza: Fighting Takes Toll on Civilians

    As gun battles continue to roil the Gaza Strip this week, militants from Hamas are tightening their grip on power. The Islamists have already taken over several hospitals and a number of key Fatah security installations. In the meantime, more than 50 Gazans have been killed, dozens more wounded. Militiamen executed rivals by throwing them off the roofs of high-rises, and masked gunmen set up checkpoints throughout the territory. Even some aid workers are finding themselves caught in the cross-fire. Two Palestinian employees of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were shot to death on Wednesday, and the agency announced that it would temporarily suspend most of its Gaza operations. (UNRWA distributes food and offers health services to Gaza's 1 million refugees; some essential aid will continue.) As Hamas tightened its grip on power, NEWSWEEK's Kevin Peraino spoke with John Ging, UNRWA's director of operations in Gaza, about the continuing violence. Excerpts: ...